Putin’s rival Nadezhdin barred from Presidential race

The election commission has rejected the registration of Boris Nadezhdin, a presidential candidate who opposes Putin and the war in Ukraine, but he says he will not give up and will challenge their decision in the highest court.

Boris Nadezhdin, a Russian presidential candidate who opposes the war in Ukraine, has announced that his candidacy has been blocked by the election commission and that he will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Nadezhdin, who wants to oust the current president Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday on Telegram that the Central Election Commission (CEC) had rejected his registration as a candidate and that he would challenge their decision in the highest court.

Nadezhdin, who represents the small centre-right Civic Initiative party, had gathered the 100,000 signatures needed to run for the election scheduled for March 15-17, but the CEC told him on Monday that they had detected defects in 15 percent of his signatures and that some of them belonged to dead people.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, said on Thursday that the election officials had followed the rules.

“I got more than 200,000 signatures from all over Russia. We did it openly and honestly – the whole world saw the lines at our offices and collection points,” Nadezhdin said.

“Joining the presidential race in 2024 is the most important political choice of my life. I will not give up on my goals.”

Nadezhdin, a 60-year-old local councillor who is known for his criticism of Putin, had attracted the interest of Russia’s minor opposition groups with his pledges to end the war in Ukraine.

He was born in Uzbekistan under Soviet rule to a Jewish mother who was a music teacher and a father who was a physicist – and he has been involved in Russian politics for the last 30 years, working as a councillor in the town of Dolgoprudny near Moscow.

Nadezhdin claims that Putin, 71, made a “fatal mistake” by starting the invasion and has promised to end it through negotiation. It was already expected that the authorities would not tolerate a candidate who would bring antiwar discourse to the campaign.

Putin is almost sure to win another term to prolong his 24-year rule of Russia, including eight years as prime minister, for at least six more years. He has not permitted any real electoral competition during his tenure, with opponents such as opposition leader Alexey Navalny in jail.

Putin will run as an independent, not as the nominee of the ruling United Russia party, which means he needs 300,000 signatures to back his candidacy.

He has already obtained more than 3.5 million, according to his supporters.

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